Tuesday, April 16

Review: Trüberbrook [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Sometimes with games the best way to condense their essence into something that’s easy to digest is to go with the “elevator pitch”.  In the case of Trüberbrook, a silly take on the classic point-and-click adventure set in a small German town in the 1960’s, the hook is that it was going for an unusual sort of Twin Peaks vibe. For people familiar with the show there’s some truth to that, with an assortment of characters who all have their own quirks, but I’d also caution putting too much stock in that description as it may oversell things a bit in terms of where it all ends up.


You’ll play the game through the eyes of a young physicist named Hans Tannhauser, who has come to the remote and unusual town after apparently winning a vacation in a contest he didn’t recall entering. Meeting up with fellow scientist Gretchen, an anthropologist in town looking for answers herself, the two decide to work together. Once they’ve begun uncovering the secrets of the town the game then winds its way towards its conclusion. Overall the initial mystery is sadly more interesting than its resolution, but this tends to be true of the source material it’s emulating as well so perhaps that’s not a major surprise.


When it comes to the mechanics of the classic adventure game Trüberbrook also has a style of its own, and I’d wager it will be a bit divisive. Rather than finding items and then working through the process of determining under what circumstances they’re useful (granted, usually having far more misses than hits along the way), the process is heavily streamlined with objects you’re able to use an object on showing a gear in the action options. Rather than cycling through items in an attempt to use them you’ll instead be restricted only to using the right item or combination of items. At times this can be aggravating since you won’t even have an opportunity to try out certain things that seem sensible in your inventory in a given situation, but I suppose it helps keep it more clear when you’ve missed something.


As for the rest of the standard elements of adventure games I’d say it’s a mixed bag. The dialogue options can sometimes be entertaining but the choices didn’t always include something that suited where I was wanting to go at the time. You also generally don’t have an opportunity to check out all options so it sometimes felt like I may have been missing out on a funnier line if I’d only chosen something else. The voice acting it hit or miss with some characters sounding great and others not quite meeting the same standard. For the most part the presentation is solid, and I enjoy the unusual visual style the game uses, but like the other areas I think a lot of it comes down to personal taste.


If you’re looking for something with a bit more quirk, some initial mystery, and a load of enjoyable characters Trüberbrook has the goods. Whether you’ll consider the streamlined inventory usage method an improvement or an affront will likely play into how much you enjoy the game, personally though it didn’t always suit me I’ll acknowledge it did save me time. While the latter portion of the game doesn’t quite match up to the promise of the first half its still a nice and quirky option to have in the Switch lineup.

Score: 7.5

Pros:
  • Its characters and situations have a nice quirky charm to them
  • Visually it stands out with a style all its own
  • Puzzle-solving tends to be more streamlined than usual

Cons:
  • Not everyone may be enamored with the dumbed down way inventory management is handled
  • The voice acting is a bit inconsistent for some characters
  • Down the stretch the initial mystery’s hook is lost and the path to resolution isn’t quite as fun